CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The BI-LO on Meeting Street in downtown Charleston will officially close their doors on Saturday at 5 p.m.
The store originally had a close date for Oct. 5., but that date has changed. The reason for that date change is unclear.
According to BI-LO, employees are aware of the closures and are encouraged to apply to neighboring BI-LOs; there are 17 locations in the Charleston area.
BI-LO District Manager Bill Scales released the following statement on Friday:
"During the process of closing, our marked down sales prices have sold through our product inventory much faster than anticipated. This means our BI-LO store located at 445 Meeting St. in Charleston will be closing on Saturday, September 24.
All our associates who wished to continue employment with Southeastern Grocers have been offered positions at other BI-LO locations and will begin in their new roles immediately, joining the more than 1,400 associates we employ in the Charleston area. We're proud to have served this neighborhood for the past three years and we welcome our customers to our remaining 17 stores in the Charleston area. We will continue to work hard every day to serve our customers and communities even better"
With the BI-LO store closes, there will be two grocery stores on the peninsula.
Friday evening shoppers said they were surprised the store was closing ahead of schedule.
"I just heard that it was closing when I pulled up in the parking lot because they didn't have the sign up yesterday," Ebony Nelson said.
"I've never seen it the way it is in there it looks like a hurricane a nuclear war prepping, there's nothing in that store," David Farrow said. "I knew it was coming but I thought it was later I thought we had another week."
City leaders say they're working to make sure it doesn't stay that way for long.
There's a three step plan to ease the issue in the meantime. The city is partnering with the Lowcountry Street Grocery to provide fresh produce and meats to the area.
There's also plans to provide free shuttle services to former BI-LO customers.
The city is also developing a series of incentives aimed at attracting a new grocer to replace the store.